HR Strange But True!
June 12, 2008

You may want to reconsider that necktie as a gift to dad for Father's Day. The popularity of neckties has dwindled so much that now even "tie guys" are losing interest, and the necktie trade association is disbanding after plummeting sales and several members showing up at the annual meeting with open collars, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The report in the Wall Street Journal says that after 60 years, the Men's Dress Furnishings Association is shutting down due to foreign competition and the fact that men just aren't wearing ties. The article says that a recent Gallup Poll found that the percentage of men wearing ties to work every day has dropped to 6 percent, with even CEOs abandoning the "power" tie of the 1980s.

Now, "power is being able to dress the way you want," says Mary Staff, CEO of JA Apparel Corp., who feels neckties are no longer "obligatory."

Ties used to convey "authority and respectability," but now they have evolved into "a symbol subservience and trying too hard," says Ray A. Smith, the author of the article, who says a middle-level accountant is more likely to wear a tie to work than the CFO

Even tie manufacturers Ian and Shep Murray of Vineyard Vines Ties don't wear them to the office, opting for polo shirts, shorts, and flip flops.

"We make ties for other people so we don't have to wear them," says Ian Murray, whose ties feature martini glasses and beach chairs rather than tartans and stripes. "If you are wearing a tie, it might as well be fun," he says in the article. Wearing a tie is now for "whims and special occasions," adds manufacturer Scott Sternberg, whose Band of Outsiders retro skinny ties are for times "when [a man] is outside of obligations."

Ironically, the poor economy and recent layoffs may actually boost the sale of ties, because the one time all agree that a tie is mandatory is a job interview.

"Who are they going to hire," asks Gerald Anderson of the soon-to-be-defunct trade association, "A guy in a T-shirt and jeans or the other guy in a sport coat with a tie?" Just make sure the necktie design isn't repeating cans of beer!

Source: Wall Street Journal

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